Tag Archives: Ameenah Kaplan

Fountain Theatre earns 4 NAACP Theatre Award nominations for ‘The Brothers Size’

Trio 2

Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins in ‘The Brothers Size’.

The Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed 2014 production of Tarell McCraney’s The Brothers Size has been nominated for 4 NAACP Theatre Awards. The Awards are presented annually by the Beverly Hills-Hollywood branch of the NAACP and are part of a four-day festival to honor outstanding people of color in theatre. 

“We are always pleased and proud to be recognised by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP theatre committee,” stated Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “It’s a continuing affirmation to our decades-long commitment to diversity on our stage.”

For this current Award cycle, the Theatre Viewing Committee considered productions from January to December of 2014.  The Fountain’s 2014 Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size earned the following four nominations:
  • Best Playwright – Tarell Alvin McCraney
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney
  • Best Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan
  • Best Ensemble Cast – Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins 
“I am excited about combining the awards show and the festival because this platform will bring thespians and theatre lovers from across the country to the city of Los Angeles to enjoy the art that is theatre,” said Ron Hasson, president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP. “The NAACP Theatre Awards Show represents an ever-growing theatre community in Los Angeles and we want to elevate this already highly recognized event in Los Angeles and heighten its visibility nationwide.”

Winners of the 25th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards will be announced on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at a press conference and reception at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. More Info

 

Fountain Theatre Honored With 13 Nominations for First Annual Stage Raw Theater Awards

The Brothers Size

‘Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock in ‘The Brothers Size’

Stage Raw today announced its first Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Awards, honoring professional excellence in theaters of up to 99 seats for the 2014 calendar year.  The Fountain Theatre has been honored with 13 nominations:

  • Production of the Year – The Brothers Size Size Size
  • Direction – Stephen Sachs, My Name is Asher Lev 
  • Direction – Shirley Jo Finney, The Brothers Size Brothers Size
  • Ensemble – The Brothers Size
  • Supporting Actress –  Anna Khaja, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Supporting Actor – Joel Polis, My Name Is Asher Lev
  • Supporting Actor – Theodore Perkins, The Brothers Size
  • Solo Performance – Jenny O’Hara, Broomstick 
  • Original MusicPeter Bayne, The Brothers Size
  • Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan, The Brothers Size 
  • Adaptation – Aaron Posner, My Name Is Asher Lev 
  • Lighting Design – Pablo Santiago, The Brothers Size 
  • Production Design – Broomstick 

Full list of nominees

Stage Raw Award Night is April 13th at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Fountain Stars Shine at Ovation Award Nominee Reception

The cast of 'My Name is Asher Lev': Joel Polis, Anna Khaja and Jason Karasev.

The cast of ‘My Name is Asher Lev’: Joel Polis, Anna Khaja and Jason Karasev.

Fountain actors enjoyed a lively evening of camaraderie and celebration at the Ovation Award Nominee Reception Monday night hosted by LA Stage Alliance and held at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The reception toasts all theatre artists nominated for Ovation Awards this year, honoring excellence in the LA theatre community. Award Night is Nov 2nd.

The Fountain Theatre has received six 2014 Ovation Award nominations this year:

  • Best Season The Normal Heart, My Name is Asher Lev, The Brothers Size
  • Best Production of a PlayMy Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Lead Actress in a Play – Anna Khaja, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Acting Ensemble for a Play – Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, Joel Polis, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Acting Ensemble for a Play – Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins,  The Brothers Size
  • Best Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan, The Brothers Size 

Two Fountain productions have earned nominations for Best Acting Ensemble in a Play, and the casts from both My Name is Asher Lev and The Brothers Size were at the Nominee Reception enjoying themselves. An exuberant evening to celebrate LA theatre and experience the joy and goodwill of artistic community. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year’s Ovation Awards ceremony will be held at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse on November 2 at 7:00 PM. Full list of all Ovation Award nominees

 

Fountain Theatre Earns 6 Ovation Award Nominations Including Best Season and Best Production of a Play

"My Name is Asher Lev"

Anna Khaja, Joel Polis and Jason Karasev in “My Name is Asher Lev”

The Fountain Theatre is pleased to announce that it has received six 2014 Ovation Award nominations, including in the prestigious categories of Best Season and Best Production of a Play. Fountain productions eligible for the 2013-14 Ovation voting season were our riveting revival of The Normal Heart, and our acclaimed Los Angeles premieres of  My Name is Asher Lev and The Brothers Size.  The Ovation Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 2 at 7pm at the historic San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel.

Often hailed as LA’s version of the Tony Awards, the peer-judged Ovation Awards recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production and design in the Greater Los Angeles area.  For the 2013-2014 voting season, there are a grand total of 195 nominations for 78 productions, presented by 49 companies. There were 318 total productions registered from 137 companies. 

Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins in 'The Brothers Size'.

Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins in ‘The Brothers Size’.

The LA Times has referred to the Ovation Awards as the “highest-profile contest for local theatre.”

The Fountain Theatre has been honored with the following 2014 Ovation Award nominations:

  • Best Season The Normal Heart, My Name is Asher Lev, The Brothers Size
  • Best Production of a PlayMy Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Lead Actress in a Play – Anna Khaja, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Acting Ensemble for a Play – Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, Joel Polis, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Acting Ensemble for a Play – Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins,  The Brothers Size
  • Best Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan, The Brothers Size 

The preeminent Best Season category honors a company’s overall excellence throughout an entire season. Over the years, The Fountain has dominated the Best Season nominations category. This year now marks the 5th time that The Fountain Theatre has been nominated for Best Season since the category was created 6 years ago, winning the award in 2011. The Fountain has also won the Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play 5 times. 

Stephen O'Mahoney, Tim Cummings

Stephen O’Mahoney, Tim Cummings in ‘The Normal Heart’.

For a full list of all the nominees click here.

Fountain Theatre Wins 26 Awards from StageSceneLA For Excellence in 2013-14

The Fountain Theatre has gobbled up 26 Theater Awards from Stage SceneLA for our acclaimed 2013-14 productions of The Normal Heart, My Name is Asher Lev and The Brothers Size. StageSceneLA editor Steven Stanley announced the winners this week after seeing and reviewing 268 productions from September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014. The overall awards list is long and there are multiple winners in many categories.  All of it demonstrating, as Steven Stanley affirms, that “theater in Los Angeles and its surrounding communities is alive and thriving and quite often simply as good as it gets. “

These 2013-14 Fountain productions received the following awards:

The Normal Heart 

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup in 'The Normal Heart'.

Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup in ‘The Normal Heart’.

  • Production of the Year – The Normal Heart
  • Best Director, Drama – Simon Levy
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Tim Cummings
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Bill Brochtrup
  • Best Performance, Featured Actress – Lisa Pelikan
  • Best Performance by an Understudy – Ray Paolantonio
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Matt Gottlieb
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Fred Koehler
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Stephen O’Mahoney
  • Memorable Performance, Featured Actor – Dan Shaked & Jeff Witzke

My Name Is Asher Lev

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in 'My Name Is Asher Lev'.

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja and Joel Polis in ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’.

  • Best Production, Drama – My Name is Asher Lev
  • Best Director, Drama – Stephen Sachs
  • Best Performance, Lead Actor – Jason Karasev
  • Best Performance, Featured Actor – Joel Polis
  • Best Performance, Featured Actress – Anna Khaja
  • Best Costume Design – Shon LeBlanc
  • Best Lighting Design – Ric Zimmerman 
  • Best Scenic Design – Jeff McLaughlin 

The Brothers Size

Gilbert Glenn brown  and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock in ‘The Brothers Size

  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney
  • Best Ensemble Cast, Drama
  • Best Choreography, Play – Ameenah Kaplan
  • Memorable Lighting Design – Pablo Santiago
  • Best Scenic Designer – Hana S. Kim

Multiple Productions: 

  • Sound Design/Composer of the Year – Peter Bayne, The Brothers Size, The Normal Heart
  • Best Props Design – Misty Carlisle – Asher Lev, Brothers Size, Normal Heart

Our thanks to Steven Stanley and StageSceneLa for this acknowledgement.  We appreciate and applaud his enthusiasm and support for theatre in Los Angeles.   

For the complete list of StageSceneLA Award winners click here.

Production photos by Ed Krieger

 

 

SLIDESHOW: First Rehearsal for LA Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘The Brother’s Size’

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Actors Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Our thrilling Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s The Brothers Size is now officially launched with rehearsals underway. The first table reading of this beautifully powerful play took place last week at the Fountain and everyone in the company — actors, designers and production team members — were blown away and deeply moved. It promises to be another unforgettable Fountain production, opening in June.

Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct The Brothers Size, the second play in McCraney’s Trilogy, following our acclaimed and award-winning In the Red and Brown WaterThe Brothers Size is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.
 
The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock  and Theo Perkins.

Enjoy These Snapshots from First Rehearsal 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MORE INFO

SLIDESHOW: Production Design Meeting for Our Upcoming LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’

 

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for 'The Brothers Size'.

Director Shirley Jo Finney shares her vision for ‘The Brothers Size’.

The design and production team for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney gathered this week to discuss the many design elements needed for the production. It’s going to be a beautiful and powerful production with a fluid, quick-moving mixture of set, lights, music, movement and sound supporting three talented actors. 

Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke to the designers and shared her vision for the play. Producers Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor led the meeting with Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, Associate Producer James Bennett and Technical Director Scott Tuomey. Adding their artistic contributions were set designer Hana S. Kim (via speaker phone!), lighting designer Pablo Santiago, costume designer Naila Aladdin-Sanders, choreographer Ameenah Kaplan, composer/sound designer Peter Bayne, music director Brenda Lee Eager, and production stage manager Terri Roberts

Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct The Brothers Size, the second play in McCraney’s Trilogy, following our acclaimed and award-winning In the Red and Brown WaterThe Brothers Size is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.

The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock  and Theo Perkins. 

Enjoy These Snapshots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More Info

Fountain Theatre Earns 10 NAACP Theater Award Nominations for Two Acclaimed Productions

"In the Red and Brown Water"

“In the Red and Brown Water”

The Fountain Theatre has been nominated for ten NAACP Theater Awards for two of its acclaimed productions in its 2012 season: the Los Angeles Premiere of  In The Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney and the United States Premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Blue Iris.

NAACP Theater Award nominations for the Fountain Theatre are:

IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER
  • Best Producer – Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor
  • Best Director – Shirley Jo Finney
  • Best Lead Actress – Diarra Kilpatrick
  • Best Supporting Actress – Iona Morris
  • Best Supporting Actor – Gilbert Glenn Brown
  • Best Choreography – Ameenah Kaplan
  • Best Costumes – Naila Aladdin Sanders
  • Best Lighting – Jose Lopez
THE BLUE IRIS
  • Best Costumes – Naila Aladdin Sanders
  • Best Lighting – Jeff McLaughlin

“We’re very pleased and delighted by these nominations,” beamed Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “And we’re proud that both of our nominated productions were premieres of new plays by two important, acclaimed playwrights — one a rising new voice in the American Theater, the other a master on the international stage.”   

The Los Angeles 2012-13 theater award season is off to another  good start for the Fountain Theatre. It was recently announced that the Fountain also earned 8 Ovation Award nominations including Best Season and Best Production of a Play.

"The Blue Iris"

“The Blue Iris”

The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch. Ron Hasson is Branch President and Tia Boyd is the Executive Producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded gala is produced for the purpose of honoring artists among the best in the field of entertainment.

This year’s awards show will be held on Monday, November 11, 2013, at 6:00 P.M. at the historical Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, formerly known as the Fox Wilshire Theatre. Here is the full list of all nominations.  

Black History Month: Revelations of African American Culture in ‘In the Red and Brown Water’

"In the Red and Brown Water" (photo by Ed Krieger)

“In the Red and Brown Water”

by Natalie Mislang Mann

Kinetic energy charged with emotion. That describes Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Los Angeles premiere of In the Red and Brown Water presented by The Fountain Theatre. The location of this acclaimed, vibrant, nonprofit performance space in a humble Los Angeles neighborhood foreshadows the economic reality of the play’s kaleidoscopic mix of characters traversing the stage. In this context, McCraney’s play represents a microcosm of shattered dreams and unrealized potential within the larger world.

Treading In the Brown and Red Water, the audience descends into the protagonist’s depths. Set in an impoverished section of the fictional San Pere, Louisiana, Diarra Kilpatrick’s Oya is a passionate runner who abandons a college track scholarship to take care of her dying mother, Mama Mojo, played by Peggy A. Blow. In the process of losing her dreams, she escapes into a fiery relationship with Gilbert Glenn Brown’s Shango and relinquishes the one man, Ogun, who declares his heartfelt love. As Ogun, Dorian Christian Baucum exudes an honest, inner-strength that contrasts with Shango’s impulsive personality.

Diarra Kilpatrick and Gilbert Glenn brown in "In the Red and Brown Water"

Diarra Kilpatrick and Gilbert Glenn Brown in “In the Red and Brown Water”

On a superficial level, the plot reads formulaic: Tragedy hits girl. Girl turns to wrong man. Girl finds herself alone. However, McCraney’s vision is anything but banal. The onstage interactions between Oya and the characters with Yoruba deity names evoke the transcendental belief that spirits interact with humans in the everyday world. Through Oya’s relationships, the audience begins to explore not just socio-economic realities, but the human desire to survive. Simultaneously visceral and intellectual, this “circular” ode to human spirit emerges then concludes in similar yet distinct ways.

Peeling away In the Red and Brown Water’s stratum is akin to unraveling textual and historical layers of a Sorrow Song. Within this context, McCraney’s drama illustrates civil rights activist W.E.B Du Bois’ analysis of slave songs as “the music of unhappy people, of the children of disappointment [which] tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wonderings and hidden ways.” Through the allusion to Yoruba deities, McCraney echoes aspects of African American culture that used to remain hidden. His knowledge of Yoruba Diaspora adds to the dialogue of African American art.

Mama Moja

Peggy Blow as Mama Moja

While prominent art historians, such as Robert Ferris Thompson, have examined the spiritual and practical aspects of West African culture brought to the Americas through the slave trade, In the Red and Brown Water pushes beyond enumerating bodies of work which focus on elevating African American folk art from obscurity to cultural center. McCraney indirectly asks: Why stop there? He bridges the aesthetic, spiritual and socio-political gap that encompasses not just race, gender, class and sexual identity, but – most importantly – the psychological self, the whole self affected by poverty onset by institutionalized human bondage.

During the ensemble’s performance, parallels between In the Red and Brown Water and choreographer Alvin Ailey’s Revelations arise. Known for drawing on the emotional and spiritual experience of African Americans rooted within a rich musical tradition, Ailey, who McCraney cites as one of his influences, connected the past to the present. Traces of Ailey’s influence emerge as drumbeats pulsate through the heart of the play, interweaving through spiritual scores and contemporary beats. The connection between past and present compounds in an agonizing scene. In the midst of electronic house music, Oya breaks down. Tapping into her primal emotions, she ruptures into African dance, which emphasizes the beauty of African American culture ingrained within the realities of personal struggle.

Shirley Jo Finney’s discerning direction coalesces the multidisciplinary facets of Peter Bayne’s talents as composer/sound designer and Ameenah Kaplan’s choreography to evoke the presence of Yoruba culture within a contemporary play. Although Frederica Nascimento’s minimalist set appears stark, she places attention on every detail: From what resembles a divination bowl sitting under the porch to the assorted water vessels on stage. Even the plastic water bottle turned percussion instrument summons the spirit of San Pere. In the Red and Brown Water conjures ancestral spirit as literal, figurative and mystical dreams appear.

Natalie Mislang Mann has a Master of Arts in Humanities from San Francisco State University and writes for Playwriting in the City.

In the Red and Brown Water  Must End Feb 24th  (323) 663-1525   More

Video: ‘In the Red and Brown Water’ Cast Gets Down in Dance Rehearsal

Enjoy this short video clip of the cast from In the Red and Brown Water having a great time at a recent dance rehearsal.

In the Red and Brown Water  Oct 20 – Dec 16 (323) 663-1525  More